Festival sees changes

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The annual Concordia Fall Festival is a tradition going back more than a century, and while some parts remain the same, the event has changed and evolved over time.

Don Schlesselman, 2011 event chairman, said fairgoers saw one change on the very first night of the festival. In addition to the queen contest, the festival now has a princess contest, allowing more and younger girls to take part.

On Thursday, the fair will welcome Steve Schmidt, a world-record holding strongman, who will demonstrate feats of physical prowess with a show at 6:15 p.m. Schlesselman said Schmidt is a strongman who specializes in pulling and lifting objects with his teeth. He also bends steel, horseshoes and tears license plates.

Friday sees the return of the Incendio Fire Performers. Schlesselman said the performers were at the festival a few years ago, but are back in a new time slot to maximize the number of people who can attend the show. The performance begins at 7 p.m.

Saturday, arguably the fair's biggest day, will see the most changes starting bright and early with a 5K run/walk at 8 a.m. Schlesselman said the run is actually a fundraiser for Concordia's four schools and the route goes by each of their campuses.

Another new event this year is a motorcycle contest sponsored by the American Legion Riders Chapter 258. The motorcycles will be on display starting at 1 p.m. north of the Main Street Stage and will be judged in seven classes ranging from antique originals to full custom rides. A best of show will also be selected.

In honor of the 10th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a remembrance ceremony will be held prior to the Saturday parade. Schlesselman said the event will be a tribute to emergency responders and there are plans to have fire trucks from a number of area departments present.

The day's final change is to the parade itself. Schlesselman said the event organizers are breaking from tradition and running the route backward.

By going from north to south, the participating school bands will be judged on a turn, as is the case with the upcoming Carrollton Band Day.

In addition, it should give spectators a better chance to see the bands moving and performing rather than marching in place waiting for their turn to be judged.

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